Vigorous campaign to promote Ceylon Tea in USA

Ambassador Wickramasuriya plays lead role

By Sujeeva Nivunhella 

Sri Lanka Ambassador in Washington, Jaliya Wickramasuriya has initiated a vigorous campaign to promote Ceylon Tea in the United States in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Tea Board.

The focus of the campaign is to strategically and effectively position Ceylon Tea in the US market, which is currently experiencing a notable increase of tea consumption.  

Ms. Janaki Kuruppu, Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Tea Board led a14-member delegation comprising key members from both Government and private sectors from the tea industry to the US recently.

The Ceylon Tea campaign was launched in conjunction with the inter-sessional meetings of United Nations’ FAO Intergovernmental Group (IGG) on Tea hosted by the  US Tea Council  at One Washington Circle Hotel from September 17-18 . 

The IGG meetings were  attended by a number of tea producing and tea consuming countries and was followed by  a well  attended Fifth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health on September 19, at the US Department of Agriculture in Washington DC.

Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya, hosted a dinner reception in honor of the Sri Lanka tea delegation   on September 19 at the Sri Lanka Residence. The gathering  included leading US tea importers, retailers, scientists who presented papers on growing health benefits on tea particularly on the black tea, high ranking US Government officials including Michael Delaney, Assistant United States Trade representative, Jim Moore , Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, the Presidents of the Tea Councils of USA and Canada and media personnel. 

Wickramasuriya assured the unstinted support of  the Embassy to  promote Ceylon tea in the US market. He invited US consumers to look for a quality cup of tea, which would naturally originate from Sri Lanka. 

"Under the directions and vision of the President, my Embassy is committed to very closely working with all stakeholders to enhance Sri Lanka’s Economic Partnerships with the USA", he said.

He also underscored the immense opportunities present in the steadily growing US tea market for the Sri Lankan tea producers.

"Today the United States has become the second largest tea importer and the sixth largest tea consuming country in the world. On the other hand, Sri Lanka is currently the third largest tea exporter of the world but we have only 3% market share in the U.S. market", he said.

The Ambassador stressed that it is incumbent on the  Sri Lankan Tea industry to realize the full potential of the US tea industry with increased partnerships with  US importers and through a well-focused marketing strategy.

 The guests were introduced to the seven agro-climatic brands of Ceylon Tea as they enjoyed the traditional Sri Lankan menu. The tables were named after the seven agro-climatic regions namely Dimbula, Nuwara Eliya, Uda Pussellawa, Sabaragmuwa, UVA, Kandy and Ruhuna.  Teas belonging to each region were readily available for the guests to enjoy.

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